Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. The world is covered in pretty lights and sometimes the outside is even decorated with glittering, white snow. But, sometimes the warm, happy, family scenes depicted in stories, movies and pictures, change. It can be really hard to adjust to a new life of two households and two sets of traditions--some old, some new. But sometime's, it's actually kind of worth it.
When my parents first got divorced, I struggled. I was never super happy about change and I was not accustomed to feeling pulled in two directions. But, nobody was. This was news for everyone. As the years go by, my parents have begun to understand the new traditions they have established and this pull has become less pronounced. Both understand that it's still a big deal that my sister and I eat dinner with my dad's family on Christmas Eve and that, on Christmas Day, the schedule flips each year. And, when things come up, my parents have gotten better at communicating what needs to be done to make things run smoothly. It didn't start that way, but after a few years, the bumps have been smoothed out.
The biggest change I noticed, however, was not that I'm less stressed at this time of year or that, (wow) my parents are understanding of each other's wants and respectful of new traditions that have been created. The biggest change had to do with what I found most important about the entire holiday season.
It's really annoying to be fed three Thanksgiving meals over the course of 10 hours. It's exhausting to switch houses halfway through Christmas morning or New Year's Eve. But, it's worth it. Why?
What really changed when my parents got divorced wasn't the crazy schedule, it was the change from enjoying the traditional parts of holidays to just enjoying the presence of the people I love. Nobody likes feeling pulled in a billion directions by family and nobody likes traveling a bunch in one day to make everyone happy, but it's so worth it. When you get older and are not home every day to see your family, holidays become so important just to catch up for hours.
You can talk about how crazy your professors were this last semester and let everyone know what exciting plans you have for the spring. You can hug your dog and play fetch in the house for hours even though you know you aren't supposed to. You can hug your cat and catch up with your sister on how crazy her schedule has been the last few weeks preparing to dance the lead in "The Nutcracker." And, even when you're running around like a chicken with your head cut off, at least you're doing it with family.
Even though they annoy you sometimes, family is what makes all of this worth it. Change is scary and change is hard, but sometimes change can help you identify the most important things in life and appreciate precious time with family.